Al Kamen
Al Kamen
In the Loop

Richard Nixon texts and tapes will be released soon

Aging Nixon-haters, mark your calendars! More texts and tapes chronicling the adventures of the old Trickster will be released in about a month.

Nixon tapes are a bit like Tupac albums: They come out regularly, even though the subject is long dead. Or, in the words of our colleague Bob Woodward, they’re “the gift that keeps on giving.”

Al Kamen

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993. He began his reporting career at the Rocky Mountain News and joined The Post in 1980. He has covered local and federal courts, the Supreme Court and the State Department. Follow him on Twitter.

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This new release is expected to be particularly juicy. On Nov. 10, the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Archives will make public for the first time a series of recordings and documents, including the much-anticipated transcript of Nixon’s grand jury testimony in the investigation of the Watergate scandal.

A group of historians sued to make the testimony — which had been redacted under laws that shield grand-jury materials — available to the public.

Stanley Kutler, the historian who led the effort, says the release will finally solve the mystery of what Nixon told the grand jury about the Watergate affair and will provide an unvarnished look at the former president. (Although by now there’s hardly any varnish left.)

“I think this will be Nixon unplugged,” Kutler told our colleague Emily Heil. “Nixon is alone — he has no lawyers, no spin-meisters, no aides. And you don’t lie to a grand jury.”

Says Steven Aftergood, who directs the Project on Government Secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists: “There’s no doubt about its historical interest. It’s also likely to be quite dramatic — it’s not often you get to hear a president under oath answering questions about misconduct.”

Aftergood called it “a missing piece of the puzzle about the end of the Nixon administration.”

The records will be available at the National Archives in College Park and at the Nixon library in Yorba Linda, Calif. Be the first on your block . . .

Lending the farm

Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of all those dimes and nickels. Even harder when your net worth is estimated to be as much as $268 million. So it should come as no surprise that former governor and now presidential candidate Mitt Romney amended his financial disclosure form last week to include a $250,000 to $500,000 loan to The Acres, a horse farm near Los Angeles. The form covers last year and half of this year. The farm is owned by avid rider Ann Romney’s trainer and good friend.

Romney, who recently noted that he, like so many others these days, is unemployed, also reported $15,000 to $50,000 in interest income from the loan. That’ll buy a lot of oats.

Endangered animal

House Republicans say that in the push to trim the federal budget, there are no sacred cows. Or elephants.

Demonstrating just how serious they are about cutting wasteful spending, House Republicans are not just training their sites on easy targets, such as gold-plated toilet seats.

No, they’re digging far deeper, proposing to gut funding meant to help the beloved mascot of the Grand Old Party, the animal that graces the ties and lapel pins of Republicans everywhere: the elephant.

The Asian Elephant Conservation Fund is on the chopping block this week on the Web site for YouCut, a project by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) that encourages the public to find and eliminate wasteful government expenses.

Dumbo clearly doesn’t have a good lobbyist.

Visitors can vote on whether Congress should nix the pachyderm program, which costs a relatively piddling $19 million over 10 years and aims to help preserve the wild-elephant population in India and Southeast Asia.

The Web site pits three programs against one another each week and visitors can vote on which to cut. Competing against the elephant fund this week are grants for Arctic climate study and a program to protect women from violence.

Maybe Cantor wants to show that his anti-spending rhetoric doesn’t amount to just peanuts but he might want to be wary of slighting the elephant: Much like other political enemies, the noble beast legendarily never forgets.

Big sell

Who says nothing ever gets done at board meetings? Most likely not author Walter Isaacson, who just sold the movie rights to his upcoming book about the late Apple founder Steve Jobs.

When it came time for Isaacson to sell the rights to turn his authorized biography “Steve Jobs” into a big-screen biopic, he probably didn’t have to go far to find a buyer. In fact, he just had to look across the Broadcasting Board of Governors conference table, where he might find Michael Lynton, the chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Sony Pictures is reportedly paying a cool million for the movie rights to the guaranteed blockbuster bestseller — already No. 1 on Amazon and not available until Oct. 24.

Isaacson, in addition to running the Aspen Institute and writing bestsellers about Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin, chairs the BBG. Lynton is a member of the board, which oversees U.S. international broadcasting, including the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe and the un-watched TV Marti.

What’s wrong with this picture?

A group of people at some international gathering last month intently studying a document? What could be wrong with that?

Well, it seems that the fellow seated in the middle, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, is Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency. He is, our colleague Colum Lynch reported last week, talking to Irish and Cuban diplomats while two other Iranians look on.

But sitting at the Israeli delegation’s desk? This is a real faux pas, we’re told, because Iranian diplos are not supposed to speak with Israelis or even say the word “Israel.” They are supposed to call the country the “Zionist entity.” (And it seems they’re not too happy these days with the Saudis.)

Most curiously, Lynch’s posting, along with the picture he obtained, were picked up Monday by an Iranian news Web site, which translated his post into Farsi, apparently without attribution.

The site included Lynch’s observation that it was “hard to imagine how the top Iranian diplomat, after serving more than six years as Tehran’s envoy to the atomic agency, wound up in the Israeli seat without an alarm bell going off in his head.”

Well, maybe he got tired of standing?

Research editor Alice Crites contributed to this report. Follow In the Loop on Twitter: @intheloopwp.

 
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